Israeli war crimes and piracy
President Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria and Gamel Abdel Nasser of Egypt during the early 1960s.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
President Ahmed Ben Bella of Algeria and Gamel Abdel Nasser of Egypt during the early 1960s.
Originally uploaded by Pan-African News Wire File Photos
By James Petras
Friday, 06.25.2010, 01:08am
On June 8, 1967, two squadrons of Israeli warplanes bombed, napalmed and machine-gunned the U.S. intelligence-gathering ship, USS Liberty, in international waters, killing 34 U.S. sailors and wounding another 172. The assault took place on a sunny afternoon, with the U.S. flag and identifying markers clearly visible. The Israelis targeted the antennae to prevent the crew from broadcasting for help and shot up the lifeboats to ensure no survivors. There were, however, survivors who rigged up an antenna and radioed their distress, a call for help that reached Washington D.C.
In an unprecedented act of betrayal, President Johnson, in close liaison with powerful American Jewish Zionist political backers, covered up the mass murder on the high seas by issuing orders first to recall Mediterranean-based warplanes from rushing to assist their besieged comrades, then threatening to court-martial the survivors who might expose the deliberate nature of the Israeli assault and finally by repeating the Israeli line that the attack was a matter of mistaken identity, a lie which numerous military leaders later rejected.
Almost to the day, 43 years later, on May 31, 2010, Israeli warships, helicopter gun ships and commandos assaulted a convoy of humanitarian ships carrying ten thousand tons of aid to Gaza in international waters. Prior to the aid mission Turkish authorities had examined the passengers and the ship to ensure no weapons were on board. The Israelis never the less came on board shooting and clubbing the unarmed passengers, killing up to 19 and wounding dozens.
Despite subsequent Israeli and Zionist claims to the contrary, no weapons were found, apart from sticks used by some of the victims attempting to fend off the murderous premeditated assault planned, directed and defended by top Israeli leaders and the entire leadership of the major Zionist organizations in the U.S. and elsewhere. The invading Israeli storm troopers systematically destroyed all cameras, videos and tape recorders that had documented their savage assault, in order to subsequently spread their brazen lies about their being subject to armed resistance.
The world response
Within hours of Israel's bloody act of piracy, nations, political leaders, human rights organizations and the vast majority of the international community condemned the Israeli state for its violation of international law. Turkey, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Austria summoned their Israeli ambassadors to protest the deadly assault. The Financial Times, (June 1, 2010) referred to the Israeli assault as a "brazen act of piracy … hurtling into lawlessness" rooted in its "illegal blockage of Gaza." Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Erdogan called the Israeli assault an act of "state terrorism" which would have "serious consequences." Israel's attacks on ships flying Turkish, Greek and Irish flags on the high seas were described by legal experts as an "act of war."
The UN Security Council, NATO and the Secretary General of the UN demanded Israel cease its aggression, while tens of thousands of demonstrators worldwide marched denouncing Israel's blatant act of state murder and wounding of pacifists, humanitarians and protesters from 60 countries. UN experts demanded that Israeli leaders "must be held criminally responsible." Only the Obama administration refused to condemn the Israeli act of state terror, merely expressing "concern and regret." The Israeli state defended its murderous assault, promised more in the future and insisted on maintaining its blockade of Gaza, even after the U.S. suggested it might be loosened.
The Israeli defense of piracy and state terror
As news of the Israeli massacre slipped out and the international community reacted with horror and anger, the Israeli government "sought to flood the airwaves with their versions of events … more importantly, the authorities ensured that their narrative gained early dominance by largely silencing the hundreds of activists who were on board during the attack." (Financial Times, June 2, 2010, p2.). The Jewish state held all the prisoners alive, wounded and dead incommunicado, seized their mobile phones and prohibited any interviews, barring all journalists. Like most terrorist states, the Jewish state wanted to monopolize the propaganda media. The Israeli propaganda machine via its state sponsored journalists and news media employed several ploys typical of totalitarian administrations.
First, Israeli storm troopers invading the ship were turned into victims and the humanitarian pacifists were turned into aggressors. "Israeli Soldiers Met by Well-Planned Lynch Mob," (Jerusalem Post, March 31, 2010); "Israeli Soldiers Attacked," (IDF, March 31, 2010).
Secondly, Israel's act of piracy in international waters was declared legal by a Professor Sabel of the Hebrew University.
Thirdly, the humanitarian organizers were accused of having ties to terrorists according to Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon, though no evidence was presented (Ha'aretz, May 30, 2010). The organizers including the Turkish human rights group accused by Ayalon were cleared by the Turkish intelligence agency, the military and the Erdogan government, a member of NATO and for many years (in the past) a collaborator with the Israeli Mossad. The other 600 plus human rights volunteers included pacifists, parliamentarians, former diplomats, and current members of the Israeli parliament.
Fourthly, while dozens of human rights people were shot, killed and maimed, Israeli propagandists doctored video releases portraying one of the Israeli assailants on the deck, cutting out the preceding sequence of attack, (Financial Times, June 2, 2010, p. 2).
Also, the Israeli sea and airborne assailants were described as the victims of a "Brutal Ambush at Sea," (Ynet News, June 1, 2010).
And finally, the terrorized human rights workers were accused of being a "lynch mob," attacking the Jewish commandos who were firing automatic rifles wildly across the deck and at cornered victims. The few courageous individuals who fought back to stop the murderous attack were slandered by the Zion-ist propaganda, which itself is as monstrous as the crimes the Zionists perpetrated.
Once the Israeli propaganda machine started spewing out its gutter lies, the entire leadership of the Zionist Fifth Column swung into action … first and foremost in the United States .
The U.S. Zionist power configuration: In defense of the massacre
Just as the entire leadership of the 51 principal American Jewish organizations defended every Israeli war crime in the past, from the bombing of the USS Liberty, to the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza, so too did these most honorable apologists repeat verbatim the lies of the Israeli state regarding the assault of the humanitarian flotilla.
The Daily Alert (May 31 – June 2, 2010), the official public propaganda organ of the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations, published every scurrilous Israeli state lie, about the Israeli commandos being "lynched," "attacked" and the human rights victims being responsible for the death of their comrades … which were actually at the hands of Israeli commandos. Not a single deviation, not a single word of criticism. Not a single mention of even the superficial Israeli critics who faulted the execution, the use of deadly weapons, the assault in international waters, and the public relations fiasco. The vast majority of Israeli Jews and organized Zionists in the U.S. supported the bloody massacre and were opposed by a small minority who has no access to the mass media. Zionist control over the mass media was once again demonstrated by the reporting through "Israel 's eyes," (FAIR, June 1, 2010). Essentially The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, CBS and NBC presented the Israeli commandos attacking the humanitarian boat as being … "assaulted and beaten," (Washington Post, June 1, 2010). The New York Times gave credence to the Israeli claim that its act of piracy on the high seas was legal (NY Times, June 1, 2010). For the U.S. mass media the problem is not Israeli state terror, but how to manipulate and disarm the outrage of the international community. To that end the entire Zionist power configuration has a reliable ally in the Zionized Obama White House and U.S. Congress.
The Obama response to Israeli state terror
There is only one basic reason why Israel repeatedly commits crimes against humanity, including the latest assault on the humanitarian flotilla: because it knows that the Zionist power configuration, embedded in the U.S. power structure, will ensure government support, in this case the Obama White House.
In the face of the world-wide condemnation of Israel's crime on the high seas, and calls from the international community for legal action, the Obama administration absolutely refused to criticize Israel. A White House spokesman said "The United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding the tragedy," (AFP May 31, 2010). An act of state terrorism does not evoke "regrets" – it normally provokes condemnation and punishment. The power which caused "loss of life and injuries" has a name – Israel; the persons who suffered death and injuries during the Israeli assault – have a name – humanitarian volunteers. It was not simply a "loss of life" but a well planned premeditated murder which is openly defended by Prime Minister Netanyahu and his entire Cabinet. The "circumstances" of the murders are clear: Israel assaulted an unarmed ship in international waters, opening fire as they boarded the ship.
The Obama administration's obscene political cover-up of a deliberate criminal act in violation of international law is evident in his description of a serial homicide as a "tragedy." Premeditated state terror has no resemblance to a tragic noble ruler forced by circumstances into a criminal act against their closest allies.
Washington, pressed to participate at a UN Security Council meeting, spent 10 hours eliminating all references to Israel's illegal criminal act, ending in a resolution which merely calls for an "impartial" investigation, with Washington pushing for an Israeli investigatory committee. To the world at large, including the Turkish government, the Obama administration and the U.S. government, by refusing to condemn Israel, are "accomplices to a mass murder."
The Zionist power configuration
To understand why the Obama administration brought shame and infamy to itself in the eyes of the world, one need look at the Zionist composition of the Obama White House and, equally important, the direct power and access that the principal Jewish-Zionist organizations have over the U.S. political system. In the week preceding Israel's announced assault on the humanitarian flotilla, (pro-Israel) Jewish leaders met with over a third of U.S. senators to pressure them to pass harsher sanctions on Iran by June. Among the key operatives attending were the Jewish Federation of North America, AIPAC and the rest of the Israeli Fifth Column (Jewish Telegraph Agency, May 26, 2010). The following day a squadron of leaders from the Jewish Federation flew into Washington to meet with top Obama administration officials, to ensure that the White House and Congress did not in any way or form publicly express any criticism of Israel's settlement policy. No doubt the Zionist apologists for Israeli war crimes extended their agenda to include no public criticism of the Israeli assault on the flotilla. Rahm Emmanuel, top U.S. presidential aide, was in Tel Aviv as a guest of top officials of the Israel Defense Forces a few days before the IDF launched the assault, no doubt having filled Rahm in on the details. The Israeli-American aide to Obama no doubt assured the war criminals of Washington's unconditional political and military support for Israel's acts of aggression.
From within and without the Obama administration, the aggressive pressure from the 51 principal organizations of the American Zionists have guaranteed Israeli war criminals immunity from any War Crimes Tribunal, or even serious political condemnation by the UN Security Council. The Zionized White House's tactic is to deflect attention from immediate consequential condemnation, let alone sanctions, hoping that over time, aided by the blanket mass media apologists in the U.S., the mass indignation and protest overseas will gradually wither away. Obama and his Zionist cohort are already in a belly crawl mode with Israel. Part of Rahm's mission to Israel was to hand Netanyahu an invitation to the White House, during the week of the slaughter at sea. The only reason Netanyahu did not come to Washington was because he rushed back to Israel to buttress the Foreign Office's defense of the slaughter in the face of world-wide outrage. But in a phone conversation, Obama promised Netanyahu a prompt new invitation – assuring the Jewish statesman that violating international laws and bloodying dozens of humanitarian activists is of no consequence, especially since it insures continued financial support by Obama's Zionist backers.
Like Lyndon Johnson with the cover-up of the USS Liberty, Obama's apology of Israel's war crimes, is the price for ensuring the backing of billionaire Zionist financiers and media moguls, the tens of thousands of pro-Israel Jews and the 51 President of the Major American Jewish Organizations.
The BDS campaign
In the face of Washington's complicity with Israeli war crimes, the only road to justice is to intensify the world-wide boycott, disinvestment and sanctions campaign against all Israeli products, cultural activities and professional exchanges. Hopefully, the Muslim-led mass protests will find echo in the wider anti-Zionist Christian and Jewish communities – especially when Israeli apologists for state terror make public appearances. Even more important, each and every Israeli involved in the mass assault should be subject to criminal prosecution wherever they visit. Only by making the Israelis understand that they will pay a high price for their serial homicides and violations of international law will reason possibly enter their political narrative. Only by moving beyond symbolic protests, like recalling diplomats, and taking substantive actions, like breaking relations, will the international community isolate the perpetrator of state terrorism. All Americans should send loud and clear to President Obama –NEVER AGAIN. Otherwise, with the Zionist power configuration active 24/7, the Obama administration, true to the Zionist agenda, will once again focus attention on attacking Iran. Israel's action today with U.S. complicity is a prelude of the kind of deadly force it has in store for sabotaging the recent Turkey-Brazil-Iran diplomatic agreement.
This article is dedicated to the brave Turkish martyrs on the Mavi Marmara, May 31, 2010, and to the 34 murdered American sailors on the USS Liberty, June 8, 1967 – all victims of an unrepentant criminal state — Israel.
James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York.